# Problem solving exercises in physics

How fast something is moving in a given direction. In this book all vector quantities will be introduced in an equation with bold type while all scalar quantities will be introduced in an equation in regular type. Note that speed is a scalar quantity while velocity is a vector quantity. When traveling in any moving vehicle, you rarely maintain the same velocity throughout an entire trip. Normandale Community College http: First of all, you must know and understand the principles of physics. Secondly, you must have a strategy for applying these principles to new situations in which physics can be helpful. We call these situations problems. Having a strategy to organize those skills can help you. Physics problem solving can be learned just like you learned to drive a car, play a musical instrument, or ride a bike. What can aid you more than anything is to have a general approach to follow with each problem you encounter. You may use different tools or tactics with differing areas of physics, but the overall strategy remains the same.

Most likely, you have already acquired some problem-solving skills and habits from previous courses in physics, chemistry, or mathematics. Like other areas of learning and life, some of these habits may be beneficial and some may actually hinder your progress in learning how to solve physics problems.

So, in learning this new approach, be willing to try new ideas and to discard old habits that may in fact be hindering your understanding. As you mature as a physics problem solver, you will find that the approach will become second nature to you.

You will begin automatically to do those things that will lead you to construct an effective solution to the problem. As with so many other learning activities, it is useful to break a problem solving strategy into major and minor steps.

The strategy we would like you to learn has five major steps: At this stage of our discussion, do not worry if there are physics terms or concepts that you do not understand.

You will learn these concepts as they are needed. Then, refer back to this discussion. You need to draw a picture and indicate any given information.

An interaction, for example, may consist of one object being connected to another by a rope. At this point, do not worry about assigning algebraic symbols to specific quantities. Sometimes the question being asked in the problem is not obvious. Ask yourself, what specifically is being asked?

How does this translate into some calculable quantity? There are many ways to solve a physics problem. One part of learning how to solve a problem is to know what approach to use.

You will need to outline the concepts and principles you think will be useful in solving the problem. If simple motions are involved, use the kinematics definition of velocity and acceleration.

If forces are involved and objects interact due to these forces, use Newton's Laws of Motion. Forces that act over a time interval and cause objects to change their velocities suggests using the Conservation of Momentum.

Frequently in situations involving thermal physics or electromagnetism, the principle of Conservation of Energy is useful. You may need to specify time intervals over which the application of each principle will be the most useful. Specify any approximations or simplifications you think will make the problem solution easier, but will not affect the result significantly.

Frequently we ignore frictional forces due to air resistance. Your approach probably will be very consistent throughout a particular section of the textbook.

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The challenge for you will be to apply the approach in a variety of situations. In a sense, you are translating the literal situation into an idealized situation where you can then apply the laws the physics. The biggest shortcoming of beginning physics problem solvers is attempting to apply the laws of physics, that is write down equations, before undertaking this qualitative analysis of the problem.

If you can resist the temptation to look for equations too early in your problem solution, you will become a much more effective problem solver.

To construct your physics description, you must do the following: Translate your picture into a diagram s which gives only the essential information for a mathematical solution. In an idealized diagram, people, cars, and other objects may become square blocks or points.provide background about the unsuccessful problem-solving strategies of beginning students, how context-rich problems and a problem-solving framework help students engage in real problem solving, and why Cooperative Problem Solving (CPS) is a useful tool for teaching physics through problem solving.

Part 2. Using Cooperative Problem Solving. often referred to as problem regardbouddhiste.comm solving, however, is more than just solving numerical exercises by doing calculations. Using mathematics is only one way to obtain a solution.

Another effective method of problem solving involves drawing on conceptual understanding to explain how the world works and applying those concepts in the laboratory. I tutor/help out with math/physics at the local high school.

This book was perfect as a quick review of high school physics. I bought the teachers edition just to get more feedback on my efforts.5/5(1).

Problem solving, however, is more than just solving numerical exercises by doing calculations. Using mathematics is only one way to obtain a solution. Another effective method of problem solving involves drawing on conceptual understanding to explain how the .

Isaac Physics a project designed to offer support and activities in physics problem solving to teachers and students from GCSE level through to university.